"Okay Google, what am I looking at?"
Google’s latest smartphones, Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL, are both available to order now, but one of the most anticipated new AI features, Google Lens, is taking its time to arrive on the flagship Android devices. However, it looks like it’s started to roll out this week.
Lens is an extension of Google Assistant, and sort of an evolution of the now defunct Google Goggles app, which used to let you search the web by image. Google Lens is far more advanced than simply recognising images saved on its servers, however. It’s able to extract information from your photos.
What does Google Lens do?
If you’ve bought one of the new Pixel 2 handsets, you need to look for the camera icon, which will have recently appeared at the bottom of the Google Assistant app. If it’s not there just yet, it should be shortly – look out for software updates.
Press this, and you’ll be taken through to your camera app. When you take pictures, Lens will try and pull out some extra information for you – identifying what’s in the photo. Here are a few examples of what it can do:
- Extract information from a Wi-Fi router’s sticker and connect you automatically
- Spot email addresses or numbers in images, and offer to add them to your contact list
- Offer shopping suggestions of where to buy whatever you’re photographing
You’ll also see a thumbs up/thumbs down icon, so you can feedback to Google how accurate Lens’ results are, helping it learn over time.
When will Google Lens be coming to my phone?
At time of writing, it’s unclear whether Google will choose to release Google Lens to the whole Android community, as it’s a pretty neat USP for the Pixel smartphone line. However, saying that, Google Assistant started life on Pixel, and quickly went Android-wide - so it’s a waiting game at the moment.
We’ll be sure to keep you updated if anything changes.
To get your very own Google Pixel 2 handset, head over to Carphone Warehouse’s website and check out all the latest deals.